The first month of the year has already passed and how are those resolutions so far?! Haha! As for me, the only thing I’ve sustained is “spend more on experiences” — a.k.a. travel! Even before the year started, I’ve already claimed that this year will be another “travel year” for me, so off I went and took advantage of promo fares. After not going to that many places for quite awhile, I’ve decided that I’ll add more to my “Places I’ve Been To” list this year, starting with Bacolod this month! 🙂 I’m really glad that I have enough leaves and long weekends (thanks to the extra holidays followed by my employer! hehe!), and without meaning to, I’m excited to say that my trips this year are “distributed” when it comes to my travel buddies: my boyfriend, friends, and family respectively. That alone already makes my trips more affordable AND memorable! Of course when traveling, you can’t just rely on sharing the expenses with your travel buddies. You also need to BUDGET! BUDGET!! BUDGET!!! Times have changed and traveling is literally for EVERYONE now, so you don’t have an excuse to say that you CANNOT (perhaps you just have a different priority, but you still “can”). And THAT sentiment exactly is what made me write this blog post. Wahahahaha!
Sooo. Here are some things you can keep in mind when you’re on a budget but still “itching” from that travel bug’s bite; after all, traveling is truly the only thing you buy that makes you richer — figuratively and now, literally too!
1. WATCH OUT FOR THOSE SEAT SALES.
Like I said, I was able to make my “travel year” happen — all thanks to seat sales! From Bacolod to Guam, to the UK, to Ireland, and to Hanoi (all my main travel destinations this year), booking them all was made possible because of airline promos. However, don’t be easily fooled by those “promo” ads. Sometimes, airlines publish only the base fare (excluding fuel surcharge, taxes, etc.). Still, you’ll still save a lot of money from booking them than booking on a normal day. So better if you bookmark official sites of low-cost carriers or sign up for that deal site’s newsletter because you never know when the piso fare will be, well, fair to you. 😉
2. LEARN THE ART OF COUCHSURFING.
Couch what? Let’s just say it’s any accommodation that doesn’t involve five-star hotels… or any hotels for that matter! Who knows? Your host might possibly be a Cosmo hunk prospect, so check out https://www.couchsurfing.org/ now! But if you’re just not into that, you can always check out budget B&Bs and hostels. Personally, I prefer booking straight from official websites because other sites earn commissions, which makes rates a little higher.
3. SAVE EVERY PAY DAY.
Trust me, I knooow it’s haaard! Haha! But just because you’ve already booked that piso fare and convinced an overseas friend to be your host doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re all set for that dream budget travel of yours. Seriously, have the words “pocket” and “money” already crossed your mind? The next time you have the urge to spend that money in the mall, say milk tea, just think how much better it is to experience it in the “land of milk tea” a.k.a. Taiwan! Mwahahahahaha! #hugot
4. PACK LIGHT.
You don’t really need those 12 pairs of the same something! Learn to maximize your luggage space by rolling those shirts and whatnot, and stick to the basics for easier mixing-and-matching. But if you really insist, just be wary of overweight baggage that can potentially damage your budget. Sad but true.
5. KEEP MOOLAH AT HAND (AND AVOID ATMs).
Although it’s smart to carry a credit card while traveling, ATMs are a different story. Just think of the excess charges you’ll incur if you withdraw from a different bank, more so a foreign one! Either way, try to steer clear of any form of “plastic” money while on vacay. Instead, stick to your budget using plain ol’ cash — but make sure you keep it in different safe places for emergency purposes and don’t exchange your money on the first exchange rate proposed to you. Know how to haggle? Do it! 😀
6. BE MINDFUL OF THY BELONGINGS.
From your passport to your coin purse, make sure that every single thing you brought with you en route your destination will also be with you when it’s finally time to go back home. Of course, your pocket money meant for spending is an exception! Hahaha!
7. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE ROAMING SERVICE.
Even if you think you’ve already turned that cellular data off, your bill might still surprise you especially if your local telco carrier doesn’t warn you of anything (heard of that horror story before when a lady traveled abroad and came back with more than a million pesos charged to her phone bill? You don’t want that!). So to be safe, just turn that smartphone off. If you really must stay connected, just do so at certain times of the day and always with free Wi-Fi. Besides, you’re on vacation and you’re not supposed to be bothered by “reality” anyway — unless you allow it to!
8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF “FREE” TOURIST ACTIVITIES.
From entering free museums in New York to feeding the birds in Milan, there’s always something you can do without shelling out anything. All you have to do is research, and you can definitely make the most out of your trip without going over budget.
9. TRAVEL IN GROUPS (PREFERABLY).
Dividing costs with travel buddies will always be cheaper than going solo. The more, the merrier indeed. ‘Nuff said.
10. BRING YOUR OWN READING MATERIALS/SNACKS/<insert other travel essentials here>.
Whether your baong cup noodles serve as your airplane food or your own reusable bottle gets refilled by spring water in France, it pays (no pun intended) NOT to buy the essentials at your destination. Besides, reading about your destination to distract you from your delayed flight? Just like Paris (or as shown by Adele), ‘tis always a good idea!
All .gif images are from giphy.com.
How about you? What are your travel budget tips?
Sound off in the comments section below! 🙂